Polwechsel: Traces Of Wood (2014)

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Polwechsel: Traces Of Wood
Since the late '90s, the European outfit known as Polwhechsel has brandished a strikingly unique sound campaign. Other than the dual-drummer percussionists' attack consisting of polytonal cymbals swashes and soft timbres, the music predominately emanates from the lower register schematic via double bassist Werner Daffeldecker and cellist Michael Moser's earthen-toned string implementations. Nonetheless, the quartet depicts a rather surreal paragon with subtle surprises, as an element of the unknown remains a constant throughout its repertoire.

It's interesting how the band produces otherworldly treatments without using electronics. With buzzing arco lines, creaky cymbals and ricocheting drum patterns, the musicians intersperse antidotes to all things considered conventional. Some of the passages are framed on unnerving quietude and minimalism. They also execute edgy and raw contrasts with moments of understated beauty, employing resonating percussion and the string performers' faintly altered extended notes. In a sense, they weave nearly inexplicable song forms into a tantalizing soundstage.

On "Grain Bending #1," the quartet alternates understated subplots with creaky and foreboding soundscapes, peppered by the percussionists' sweeping snare drum rolls and unforeseen shifts in strategy. But they also lash back with some venomous, saber-rattling breakdowns amid blustery drums and bombastic cymbals crashes, as if an agitated deity has entered the picture. And during "Nia Rain Circuit," either Beins or Brandlmayr use a mallet instrument to add color, sparking an additional perspective to the asymmetrical flows.

Traces of Wood does not reside within the easy listening category but, on the other hand, the program is not over-cooked or gushing with garrulous statements. The musicians' approach could represent the narrative for a scenario, where a master craftsman is sculpting wood, along with the trial and tribulations of designing a priceless piece of art.

Track Listing: Adapt/Oppose; Grain Bending #1; Nia Rain Circuit; S 64° 14” W 56°37”.

Personnel: Burkhard Beins: drums, percussion; Martin Brandlmayr: drums, percussion; Werner Dafeldecker: double bass; Michael Moser: cello.

Record Label: Hatology


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